A former member of the adamantly homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, also know as the ‘God Hates Fags’ church, has spoken out about the church’s controversial leader, and said that she thought he could be gay.
Lauren Drain, 27, became a member of the Westboro Baptist Church at age 15 when her father relocated her family to Kansas in order to join the church and live in its compound.
At first she accepted the extremely anti-gay teachings of the church and its leader, Fred Phelps. The church is known for its belief that the majority of people will go to hell, and for its pickets at the funerals of soldiers and victims of disasters in which members carry signs reading “God Hates Fags” and other inflammatory statements.
Although she originally attended pickets and supported the Westboro Baptist Church, Ms Drain began to question their teachings and was subsequently cast out at the age of 22.
Speaking in an interview with the Advocate, Drain speculated that Fred Phelps had at one point wanted to join the military, but suddenly changed his mind.
She said: “All I know is that he said he went to West Point, then all of a sudden he had a religious experience, and now he wanted to preach against sexual immorality, preach against the military, and ever since then things have kind of progressed.”
Drain went on to say that she thought his reaction to being asked by the media if he was gay himself was suspicious, in that it was particularly extreme.
“I never understood why, when [he was asked by the press], ‘Why are you so against the homosexuals? Did you have a homosexual experience? Do you have homosexual tendencies?’ And he would get so mad, he would shut down. And he’d be like, ‘I can’t talk to this person anymore, they’re stupid.’
“His reaction to that was stronger than any other question you can ask him. So I always wondered that — why does he get so mad? If I’m not gay, I’ll just say I’m not gay.”
She went on to say that speculating on the matter was all she could do, as she didn’t know the true reason for his reaction to those questions.
She said: “But something happened, and something made him change his mind about the military, and in turn have kind of a crusade against sexual immorality and homosexuals.”
In February, two granddaughters of Phelps quit the organisation, and expressed regret at “inflicting pain on others” whilst still members.
Back in 2010, the son of Fred Phelps has broke his silence and begun to publicly speak about his relationship with his estranged father, after also quitting the church.
The church infamously attempts to picket the funerals of those deemed “fag-enablers”, including military funerals for US service members.
In a strange turn of events in December, the Ku Klux Klan stepped in to counter a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, at a military funeral.
The church had also announced that it intended to picket the funerals of the children killed at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut to worldwide outrage.
Also in December, the hackers collective, Anonymous, continued its battle with the church, and claimed to have changed the desktop background on its spokeswoman’s computer to gay porn, and filed a death certificate on her behalf, stopping her from using her social security number.